Roebuck, writer and philanthropist, remembered

IT WAS the type of occasion, his close confidants say, that Peter Roebuck would have wanted.

IT WAS the type of occasion, his close confidants say, that Peter Roebuck would have wanted.

"Those of us who knew Peter well knew how he hated events, hated the elaborate, the superficial," said Mike Coward, who sat alongside Roebuck in press boxes around the world.

"All of us who are here because we want to remember the Peter we knew, to thank him for his time among us and for a remarkable body of work."

And it was in the Members Stand of the Sydney Cricket Ground yesterday that colleagues, readers and listeners of The Sydney Morning Herald and Age cricket writer and ABC commentator did just that.

They remembered a man Coward described as a social justice crusader, cricketer, captain, coach, mentor, commentator, writer, and philanthropist.

ABC commentator Jim Maxwell, who was with Roebuck before he died in South Africa last month, said he had been inspired by his wisdom, knowledge and commitment to enriching young lives.

"He loved to challenge us with his gift of language, his knowledge of the game, his downright contrariness, and it all made for stimulating broadcasting and stimulating writing," he said.

Roebuck's signature straw hat was passed around for a collection for the African students he was supporting. The Age and the Herald each pledged $5000 and Maxwell $3000.

Roebuck's superannuation is also to be used to keep up the financial support for the 10-bedroom home called Sunrise in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, for young men to live while attending university.

South African police are still investigating 55-year-old Roebuck's death. At the time, two police officers had been questioning him about a sexual assault allegation made by a 26-year-old Zimbabwean man.

A Melbourne gathering to remember Roebuck will be held next Wednesday, 7-9 pm at Hogan Gallery, 310 Smith Street, Collingwood.

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